Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Here I am once again with no ID. I can't find this duck anywhere on my normal net sources. So I am hoping someone will bail me out once again.

While you enjoy this pretty duck, I have a few questions as well. As a new serious birder, by that I mean really keeping track and photographing the birds I encounter, I am somewhat ignorant of the serious birder’s terminology. I have loved bird watching ever since I was a boy, yea way back! I used to have a bird book, forget the name of it, but I loved to identify the birds I saw. I was a good feeder and would often go out to my daddy’s house and fill his feeders for him.

My first question is what is a lifer bird? Now I get the obvious meaning. This is a new bird for you. I do, however, get the feeling that this term has taken new meaning in the world of blogging. When someone says this is a new life bird for me, do they mean that this is the first time they have ever seen this bird or is this the first time they have photographed this bird? I guess you can see where I am going with this so I will try not to bore you with too many details.

Please share with me what “Life Bird” means to you as a naturalist and a blogger.

Thanks for stopping by,


Lanny said...

I am by no means an expert birder and I have never been to Florida, but depending on where you spotted this duck, could it possibly be a domestic mut duck? As a poultry raiser that is what it looks like.

Kallen305 said...

I have no idea what kind of duck that is but it's pretty.

To me lifer means it is the first time I have seen the duck in my lifetime.

It will be interesting to see what others mean by that word.

Steve B said...

Hi Craig. Let’s see if we can help you with this duck. Take the picture and crop out everything except the tail. Look familiar? Now in you second picture, crop out everything but the bill.

I think you have, and this is not a technical but my own, is what I call a Daffy Duck. It looks to me to be a Mallard that has been hybridized. This happens with captive (domesticated) populations that interbreed too much.

Lifer seems to be a more recent term. Back when I was extremely active before the mid ‘90s, we called them life birds. Simply put, a birder keeps a life list. You tick of a new bird, you get a life bird, or a lifer. I used to keep yearly lists for my state, photography lists, birds I witnessed breeding lists and Boulder County lists. But I’ve settled into photography now. It is a slower pace, not that I’m slowing down mind you, but my wife doesn’t share the passion that my first wife did. But she’s still a keeper.

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Can't help with the duck I.D. A ;lifer' to me is the furst time I see and identify this bird.I keep a 'life' list as well as a yard list.Listing is fun.

Carol said...

I know my birds...but not my ducks! I'd call it a 'sitting' duck to-be-sure!! LOL! Thank you for the sweet comment on my blog!!

Salty said...

Craig, I agree with Steve on this one. The tail curls are definitely from a mallard somewhere in this ducks ancestry.

Mallards are known to cross with just about any other duck they encounter. When I was a kid we had a lone mallard hen that crossed with a white mucovy, the results was some very large ducks with mostly mallard characteristics. Some of these mallard crosses make for some strange looking quackers.

Bird Girl said...

I think this duck may be some kind of domestic - and there tough to ID. But - love that second shot with the orange webbed foot up - very cool, Craig!!!
Lifer is just what it implies - nothing special - just the FIRST TIME TO SEE THAT BIRD!!! ;-) I guess that is special, huh? I have a book called the 'Birder's Life LIst' and I write the bird - and make comments about date, place, time and anything neat about it. It's fun to look back to the 1970s when I started - geesh - lots of listings I can't even REMEMBER!

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

I think Steve must be right that this is a cross breed. Most unusual looking bird you have here Craig.

Dave's Bird Watching Blog said...

Intersting duck, but I'm not sure either. Good pics, though!

Leedra said...

I was thinking a Mallard mixed with someting else, glad to see others think the same thing.

I agree Lifer or Life Bird is the first time you see the bird. Some people even count hearing it, but in my book that does not count. Some people go as far as to say they have to photograph it too. I disagree with that too, although it is an added bonus when the new life bird is also in your camera/computer. To go along with that.....I have an awesome setup and since you are just starting your list I have something for you to ask Maureen to buy for your birthday (hopefully it is next week! Ha!Ha!). I have the National Geographic Field Guide for Birds of North America. It is the best reference book I have, but what really makes it good is there is a Journal that goes with it. Once you find the bird in the field guide turn to the same exact page in the journal and log the date and location of your sighting.

Hint: Don't mark your book until Hap visits!

Leedra’s Photos For Fun

Leedra’s Greeting Cards

Photography By Leedra

dAwN said...

Cool Pics..I agree about the mallard cross...something or other...

Lifer...for me means I get real excited..I jump up and down and look at the bird for as long as it lets me...
as it is the first time i have seen that birdie..